After taking a week off from this to recover from the massive burnout from tokusatsu shows, I'm ready with another dose of Comparison to the West.
This week we take the time to look at the supporting characters of both shows as well as some new additions to the cast. So join we on this cloud flying tour to see these Challengers From The East!
Pigsy Version 2.0 (Tonpei Hidari)
Some back story. Before Nihon-TV (Y'know, the people who made the source material?) decided to make another season, they offered the original Pigsy, Toshiyuki Nishida, the lead in a drama called Ikenaka Genta 80kg which aired in 1980.
Let the record show that I do my research.
Now arguably, there's nothing wrong with 2.0 Pigsy. Same character, slight costume change, different actor. In theory anyway. In practise, he becomes the least interesting character of the group. Mostly because Horse officially joins the group but more on that in the next paragraph. His hair looks like its some plastic accessory whereas with 1.0 Pigsy it looks somewhat like real hair. Another thing is that the voice actor is still the same which can cause a problem if the voice doesn't suit the visual. And for Pigsy 2.0, it really doesn't fit. It should be noted that there are some episodes in season 2 that never got dubbed into english until 2003. In these episodes, including one of my personal favourites, the voice matches him so much. maybe its the years of not being Pigsy and therefore harder to repeat but it works and they're more of a joy than his other season 2 episodes. I honestly love how the writers explain the change of actors in the show. "Pigsy is becoming, arguably, more human." It fits so well with the show. Reincarnation, redemption and such.
Horse/Yu-Lung (Shunji Fujimura Voiced by Manuel Andrew Sachs)
Folks I type this with such child-like glee. Because in the background the song "Life is SHOWTIME" by Sho Kiryuin is playing in the background. But also because I've been waiting to write about this character since moment one. For two reasons: 1. He's voiced by Andrew Sachs and if you don't who he is. Get off this site. Go to your local library or video store. Borrow a copy of Faulty Towers. Watch all the episodes then come back and tell me who he is?! And 2. His various forms throughout the entire show.
Confused? Here's a list of all the forms he's taken in the show:
-Princess of the Western Ocean -Water Dragon -Female White Horse -Male Horse Spirit
Now that's gender play.
For a dragon his character is anything but. Not into violence. Rather talk things through. Pretty much Tripitaka 2.0 but he's never in charge. I love this new addition to the group. An animal spirit whose nature isn't something Tripitaka can complain about. Oh yes! To change from man to horse, he has to be kicked in the ass. ...You read that right.
Little fun fact, Fujimura has been in a few other productions. Some you would be very, very familiar with.
Buddha (Mieko Takamine)
As I've mentioned before, Buddha is in his female form. To be honest, I'm digging it. "Buddha is a woman, deal with it 'yo'" seems to be the attitude I'm picking up. Other then that there's not much to talk about him her. Everything else can be found on a Wikipedia page.
Rin-Rin (Mizukawa Asami)
First appeared in the first episode of Saiyuuki, Rin-Rin is a thief. Happy, bubbly personality but a thef none the less. Rin-Rin represents the first female-female role of the two shows. She's not a pilgrim, more of a...well. Remember Team Rocket from Pokemon? She's pretty much the character that just happens to conveniently be around. At time of writing I've only seen 5 episodes of Saiyuuki but I have this strange feeling that this is no ordinary thief. Some secret twist that I have yet to uncover. It started when watching episode 4 where she explains Gojou's back-story. It's never explained how exactly she knows this. So I'm thinking that there's more to her then meets the eye.
Roshi (Ohkura Koji)
An old man who works for heaven.
...Oh...you wanted more then that?
An old PERVERTED man who works for heaven. Pretty much just sweeps in around the end to arrest the demons that the Saiyuuki cast defeated. That right, from the 5 episodes I've seen the demons in the show don't die. THEY GET ARRESTED! I get it but from the amazing choreography, the style, the writing, the mood, and this is what they choose for the the fate of these defeated demons? My bitching aside, Roshi is amusing in every scene he's in. On case is where he appears to free Goku and co from a prison cell but is told by Goku that he should lock it up. "Fine!" He says, "I'll lock it up! I don't know why I bother!" as he stroms off. Out of him and Rin-Rin...I much prefer Rin-Rin but Roshi is a good attempt for support characters.
The Edge: (?) There's no edge I can give to this week as there's nothing I can actually compare this time. For me, this post is another breather from watching 15 hours worth of material for this mini-series.
Check the site next week for another dose of Comparison to the West, the 3/4 point, the point where we look at the ACTUAL show rather than stop and look at the characters.
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